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Kanye West’s Sunday Service Granted Tax-Exempt Status Despite Facing Multi-Million Dollar Lawsuits

Kanye West’s Sunday Service organization has been granted 501(c)(3) tax exempt status despite the performer facing two class action suits for allegedly mistreating performers and staff.

West launched the weekly, invitation-only Christian gathering known as Sunday Service in January 2019, just months ahead of the release of his ninth studio album, the Christian-themed “Jesus is King.”

The lawsuits totaling $50 million were filed in summer 2020 on behalf of former employees of Sunday Service as well as performers in West’s opera production “Nebuchadnezzar,” who said they were not paid and that poor working conditions violated California employment law. 

He also faces a $20 million lawsuit filed by MyChannel Inc, which alleges West stole the firm’s video commerce technology to help increase sales of Sunday Service clothing and merchandise.

At a virtual hearing for that case last week, West allegedly indicated his intention to obstruct justice, wore a “full-face hood and head covering adorned with Jesus Christ’s image which obscured his face and muffled his voice,” called a lawyer “f**king stupid” and walked out after 10 minutes, per The Sun

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MyChannel’s lawyers said they would request that West participate in a face-to-face deposition next month and said they would seek a sanction of $63,000 against him for his behavior.

Sunday Service is mostly held on the property in Calabasas, California, where West has a home. Other gatherings have been held in Burbank, Los Angeles, Chicago, Wyoming (where West owns a $14 million ranch), and Ohio. 

The tax exemption paperwork filed with the California Secretary of State’s Office lists the $2.2 million Calabasas property as its headquarters. 

In April 2019, West took the service to the Coachella music festival, where he was roundly criticized for high-priced merchandise including a  $70 T-shirt that said “Trust God” with a cross for the second T. 

A “Jesus is King” T-shirt is available through the Sunday Service website on its Amazon merchandise page for $20

The merchandise link is the only thing listed under the “community” tab on the organization’s website

Anne Stych

Anne Stych is a writer in Charlotte, North Carolina.